We could go on and on about the virtues of the great American culinary obsession known as bacon.
But honestly, nobody sums it up better than television superstar Homer Simpson, who has noted on more than one occasion: “Mmm… bacon!”
I, too, love bacon. But having grown up in a family bakery and donut shop (Homer would have had a similar comment about our display case), I recall being horrified the first time I saw bacon bits sprinkled atop a maple bar.
It just wasn’t a flavor combination that could work… until I tasted it. Mmm…
These days, bacon finds its way onto and into any number of dishes, something I was reminded of when I came across a local diner that was featuring “Bacon Week” — six days of special dishes.
Bacon, on its own, is challenging to pair with wine because of its natural saltiness. That quality makes its best pairing partner sparkling wine, which provides an ultra-fresh mouthfeel and fairly neutral flavor profile.
But a few of the dishes, featuring ingredients that mitigate that saltiness to some degree with additional flavors, suggested some natural pairing opportunities.
- The BLT Salad was made with romaine lettuce, cranberries, walnuts, cherry tomatoes, chopped bacon, bleu cheese crumbles and ranch dressing. Wine pairing partner: Sauvignon Blanc.
- The Bacon Bacon BBQ Cheeseburger featured a beef patty, four bacon slices, cheddar cheese, barbecue sauce and a mustard drizzle. Hold the mustard and pour a glass of Syrah or Zinfandel.
- The Bacon Mac & Cheese featured oven-baked mac-and-cheese with bacon and a crusted panko topping. Sounds like a good reason to pour a creamy Chardonnay.
There are classic food-and-wine pairings, but there also are pairings that may not be so obvious. If you open your mind to new and different possibilities, you’ll have many more opportunities to enjoy your favorite adult beverage.
Even with bacon.